NEW YORK (Apr. 17)
The issue of whether the Coca-Cola Export Corporation has bowed to the Arab boycott against Israel, when it refused to grant a franchise to the Israeli firm, Tempo Soft Drinks Company, was settled this weekend when the Coca-Cola company announced that it had agreed to grant such a franchise to Abraham Feinberg, noted American Jewish leader and business executive, whose associates in the venture will be Israeli citizens. Mr. Feinberg is president of the Israel Bond Organization.
A statement issued by James A. Farley, chairman of the Coca-Cola Export Corporation, said that in 1949, Mr. Feinberg, with a group of associates, received approval from the Coca-Cola Company of his application to bottle Coca-Cola in Israel. “Because of the difficult hard currency situation at that time, Mr. Feinberg and his associates were unable to get Israeli Government approval and subsequently withdrew their application in 1950,” the statement pointed out, adding that “Mr. Feinberg has never lost his interest and, as recently as March 31, predating the current controversy, advised me of his continuing serious interest and renewed his request for a franchise.”
“In reply to Mr. Feinberg’s letter to me of March 31, a representative of the Coca-Cola Company advised him on April 1 that we would be pleased to discuss the matter with him upon his return from Israel in mid-April,” Mr. Farley declared. He announced that, last Friday, J. Paul Austin, president of the Coca-Cola Company and Mr. Feinberg met together and “agreed to exchange letters of intent which is normal procedure when a corporation enters into negotiations to establish a new franchise. Mr. Morris B. Abram, president of the American Jewish Committee, was most helpful in working with both parties,” he emphasized.
Mr. Abram issued a statement declaring that he had examined the file of correspondence between Mr. Feinberg and the Coca-Cola Export Corporation, which goes back to 1949. “There is no evidence in that file, from then to the present, of any reluctance by Coca-Cola to do business in Israel with a respected and stable group of investors,” the American Jewish Committee president declared.
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, which last week accused Coca-Cola of bowing to the Arab boycott in denying a franchise to Tempo Soft Drink Co., of Israel, said after Mr. Farley’s announcement that it was “delighted” with the Coca-Cola decision.